The Spanish football season draws to a close this evening as Spain face Macedonia in a crucial 2018 World Cup qualifying match. Only the group winners in Europe are guaranteed a ticket to Russia and coming second would mean the lottery of a play-off match. Spain and Italy are tied neck and neck at the summit of Group G and the "Azzuri" visit the Bernabéu on September 2nd in what could prove to be the pivotal game in deciding the fate of the group. Both Italy and Spain are convinced of one fact: any slip up against other rivals could provide the other team with a massive advantage. Consequently, the pressure is on in Macedonia tonight with "La Roja" needing a win..
Macedonia are not a great side with their main source of threat coming in the form of veteran striker Pandev and the Balkan nation coach has decided not to call upon any of the U-21 players, preferring to save them for their presence in the forthcoming Under 21 European Championship. Today's match in Skopje offers a tilt at glory for the home side and for Spain somewhat of a late season obstacle. Spanish national team coach Julen Lopetegui voiced his concern this week at the need to revive competitive spirit in his team after a long arduous season with tonight's game coming very late in the FIFA calendar.
La Roja XI
Lopetegui has made it clear on recent occasions as to what is his ideal starting line-up with the only variation being in the midfield selection of Thiago or Koke, In attack he still prefers Diego Costa over Morata. Isco is a guaranteed starter along with Vitolo and possibly even both Thiago and Koke. It rained heavily last night in the Macedonian capital so we can expect a fast pitch at the Phillip II stadium come kick-off. It's a game that we can foresee already even at this early stage: Spanish domination in possession with Macedonia sitting deep and hoping to strike on the break. Fingers crossed that the final result is the one that we all want.